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Random - Did Animals Talk in the Garden of Eden?

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  • Random - Did Animals Talk in the Garden of Eden?

    Bare with me here!

    One of my earliest memories of church was when my kindergarten Sunday school teacher got really upset with my because I asked if animals talked in the Garden of Eden. I was told I was no longer allowed to ask silly questions, and to just not ask any questions any more at all.

    My child like thinking was that if Eve was walking through and a serpent started speaking with her, the Bible does not indicate that she showed any surprise at this. I know the garden was a far different environment than any we have now, so either it was normal to converse with animals, or she had no reason to fear this new activity so she "rolled with it", so to speak.

    While I realize this is probably still a silly question, it is one that has sat in my mind for almost thirty years and I felt like this was a safe place to ask it again!

  • #2
    There are accounts of animals talking in the bible. The Genesis account of Eve being tempted really has to do with Satan speaking through the serpent, though. The only other one I can think of is when Balaam's donkey's tongue was loosed after Balaam had beaten him for not being coaxed forward. Of course in this case it was God loosing the donkey's tongue to let Balaam know that his animal just saved his life.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by whysewserious View Post
      One of my earliest memories of church was when my kindergarten Sunday school teacher got really upset with my because I asked if animals talked in the Garden of Eden. I was told I was no longer allowed to ask silly questions, and to just not ask any questions any more at all.
      I think it was your Sunday school teacher who was being silly. Some Jewish groups actually did believe that all the animals were able to talk to one another. Jubilees 3:28 states:

      And on that day [i.e. the day they were all removed from the garden] was closed the mouth of all beasts, and of cattle, and of birds, and of whatever walks, and of whatever moves, so that they could no longer speak: for they had all spoken one with another with one lip and with one tongue.
      However there is no biblical reason to believe that all the animals could speak.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Origen View Post
        I think it was your Sunday school teacher who was being silly. Some Jewish groups actually did believe that all the animals were able to talk to one another. Jubilees 3:28 states:



        However there is no biblical reason to believe that all the animals could speak.
        May I ask another question? I have never heard of Jubilees; where is that located?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by whysewserious View Post
          May I ask another question? I have never heard of Jubilees; where is that located?
          Sure. There are several pseudepigraphal documents which are not canonical and the book of Book of Jubilees is just one of many.

          Here is an introduction by to the book by R.H. Charles which is a bit dated but nevertheless very useful.

          The Wesley Center Online: The Book Of Jubilees

          A translation of Jubilees can be found here:

          Jubilees

          Let me also point out that Jubilees (in fact none of the pseudepigraphal documents) are Scripture. However they can be helpful so as to do give us some insight into the thinking of the authors and what they thought about the Hebrew text.
          Last edited by Origen; 12-22-2016, 01:41 PM.
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          • #6
            I will take a look at the links provided, thank you! I always find the outside of the canonical texts to be interesting. As with any source of written work, the validation of authentication is interesting - but that is probably another post for another thread!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by whysewserious View Post
              I have never heard of Jubilees; where is that located?
              Under the Law every fiftieth year was a year of jubilee in which all debts were forgiven and all property reverted back to its original owner.
              “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.

              “If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer shall come and redeem what his brother has sold. If a man has no one to redeem it and then himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it, let him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property. But if he does not have sufficient means to recover it, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of the buyer until the year of jubilee. In the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.

              “If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a year of its sale. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption. If it is not redeemed within a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong in perpetuity to the buyer, throughout his generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. But the houses of the villages that have no wall around them shall be classified with the fields of the land. They may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the jubilee. As for the cities of the Levites, the Levites may redeem at any time the houses in the cities they possess. And if one of the Levites exercises his right of redemption, then the house that was sold in a city they possess shall be released in the jubilee. For the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the people of Israel. But the fields of pastureland belonging to their cities may not be sold, for that is their possession forever.
              (Leviticus 25:23-34 ESV)
              I recall hearing of a book called the Book of Jubilees but I don't know anything about it except that it isn't part of the Bible.
              Clyde Herrin's Blog
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